Sound — 9
Coming off of their 4th full length and major-label debut, "Dirty Work", released in 2011, which was seen by most as incredibly underwhelming, All Time Low have brought back aspects of their old sound while continuing to expand and grow. This album was recorded independently after leaving their first major label Interscope, and then released through their old label Hopeless Records, which they signed back on to in early July, after the album was recorded. They managed to pull off keeping the sound that fans missed on most tracks of "Dirty Work" without becoming another stale pop-punk band recycling old formulas.
Lyrics — 8
Alex Gaskarth remains the lyricist for the album, as he has been on all of their studio efforts, and the lyrics on this album become some of his best yet. His voice is also in the best condition it's ever been and isn't as polished as it was on their last 2 studio efforts 2009's "Nothing Personal" and 2011's "Dirty Work". The album was recorded independently and it really becomes a plus as the edgy, less-processed vocals are executed perfectly on these songs.
Overall Impression — 10
This is All Time Low's most consistent album in the fact that there really are no "filler" tracks that you skip over when listening through such as "Hello, Brooklyn", and "Too Much" from "Nothing Personal" and "That Girl" and "No Idea" from "Dirty Work". However, there are some exceptional stand outs such as "Outlines" which features ex-Acceptance's Jason Vena and the only co-write on the album which Gaskarth wrote with Patrick Stump, formerly of Fall Out Boy. The song has very interesting leads with a refrain that has Vena singing solo and a punchy chorus with clever lyrics "I'm just a moment, so don't let me pass you by". Another stand-out on the album which will most likely be a live fan favorite is "The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver". The intriguing title had me interested before it was released and it's a great song with a poppy chorus and the repeated line "Why can't you just be happy for me?". A song that stands out from the rest of the album is "So Long Soldier" featuring Bayside's Anthony Raneri. The song tells of Gaskarth's move from England to America and details the bands first tour. This song features the heaviest riff on the album and a vocal pattern of the chorus reminiscent of the vocal pattern in "Circles" from the band's first release "The Party Scene". My personal favorite on the album is "Thanks To You" which starts off with a 90's-esque guitar riff leading into a punchy verse with a catchy chorus featuring lyrics such as "I'll spend my whole life-time with your lifeline wrapped around my throat", but the best part is the bridge of the song, which has a breakdown of sorts reminding me of early 00's New Found Glory, before going into the chorus one last time. Other highlights of the album include "Somewhere In Neverland", "Backseat Serenade" featuring ex-Hey Monday's Cassadee Pope, "To Live And Let Go", and "For Baltimore". All in all, this release has All Time Low continuing to do what they do best, churn out great, catchy, pop-punk tunes that please their fan base, while still keeping things fresh and entertaining for all. Who knows, "Don't Panic" may even make some fans out of non-believers, as it definitely is their best work to date.